Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

Appreciation for Pastors and Other Sinners.
1 Thess. 5:12-22 NAS

12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.    14 And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men. 15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all men. 16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances. 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil. NAS

Introduction
Some pastor's might object to being called sinners. I do not object if it is understood my sins are under the blood, and my life style is not one of sin although I lapse into sin. Some people hold the pastor to a standard that is impossible for any human being to attain. Some have the pastor in a very low place of admiration.

In the text Paul speaks to a proper Appreciation. But I want to site some experiences that may help us to understand this text.

My predecessor, Dr. Wayne Wood, and I meet at the post office every so often.  Once in a while we tell stories to one another about our pastoral experiences.  Do you know that Dr. Wood can tell about times of opposition in the churches he pastored?

A few years ago, a person who grew up in this church and is now a minister was here in our worship service.  He came back to where I was standing after the service and said, "preacher, that was a good sermon."  And I said, "Thank you."  He came back a second time and said, "preacher, I want you to know that was really a good sermon."   Then he came the third time and said, "pastor, I'm really impressed.  That was a good sermon."  I stopped him at that point and said, "I want to talk to you about a situation in the church that you know something about."  And he said, "pastor, let me stop you before you start and just tell you I have been where you are."  And I said to this young man, "I know you have because nobody has pastored for any length of time without similar kinds of conflict.

Do you know that right now there is a person in the church that I have asked to meet with me to talk about why they are upset with me?  I have E-mailed them on two occasions stating, "Obviously there is a problem between us and I would like to sit down and talk with you about it."    Since this person didn't respond to my E-mail, (when I saw them recently), I said, "did you get my email?"  And the answer was, "yes, and I deleted it as quickly as I knew it was from you."

A sister church in this Association just last Sunday had a young man that the pastor had asked to sing a song.  The young man was singing a song that was out of the normal realm of melody and rhythm for that church.  Do you know that some people stood up and told the young man to sit down and stop singing that song?

The reason that I'm pointing out each of these experiences is that I want you to know that there is almost an epidemic nationally in churches where there is not an appreciation for the office of pastor.  I say Paul is speaking to us today and telling us in all of our relationships to have appreciation for those who hold offices that are God given offices.

1.    Appreciation for the Christian Pastors. v 12-13

2.    Appreciation for the Christian Populace. v 14-15

3.    Appreciation for the Christian Principles. v 16-22
 
 

1.    Appreciation for the . . Christian Pastors. v 12-13

12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.

12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves. KJV

12 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other NIV

Introduction
Have you noticed the word Brethren reappearing through out this book? It is a favorite term for Paul and he uses it 18 times in these 5 chapters. Here he is asking the brethren to appreciate the pastors-overseers of the church.
 

A.    Appreciate them for their . . Activities. v 12 a
            ". . . appreciate those who diligently labor among you, . . . "

B.    Appreciate them for their . . Assignments. v 12 b
           ". . . and have charge over you in the Lord . . . "

C,    Appreciate them for their . . Advice. v 12 c
           ". . . and give you instruction, . . . "
 

ATR Putting sense into the heads of people. A thankless, but a necessary, task. (from Robertson's Word Pictures)
 

D.    Appreciate them for their . . Appointment. v 13 a
           ". . . and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work."
 

E. Appreciate them for their . . Accord. v 13 b
        "...Live in peace with one another. "
 

Illustration
HOW CAN WE MAKE THE PASTOR'S MINISTRY MORE EFFECTIVE?

1.    Build his spiritual power by praying for him.

2.    Build his reputation by speaking well of him. He will have weak and strong points. His influence will
        depend on which of them we stress.

3.    Build his morale by encouraging him.

4. Build his wisdom by consulting with him. Most pastors will

5.    listen to advice. Many a young preacher might have been

6.    saved from making a serious mistake if men of sober

7.    judgment had expressed an opinion privately.

8.    Build his leadership by cooperating with him. For every great leader, there must be some great
        followers.

9.    Build his pulpit power by hearing him. Full pews challenge a man to prepare and deliver great
        sermons. Empty pews are disheartening.

10.    The greatest thing we can do for our preacher is to follow the Christ he preachers.
 

Application

Recently Christa and I past a church building and I said that church is know as a preacher killer. They do not grow spiritually or numerically. They have the reputation of being factitious and cliquish.

A great pastor will build his church, and a great church will build her pastor. A church is responsible for what she does to her pastor, as is the pastor for what he does to the church!
 
 

2. Appreciation for the . . Christian Populace. v 14-15

NAS 14 And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men. 15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all men.

KJV 14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

NIV 14 And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.

Introduction
I think this verse has the idea of supporting the Pastor and all the brethren as they stand with him in all this verse talks about.

A.    Appreciation for All . . Brethren. v 14 - 15 a

        1.    Appreciation In . . Admonition for the unruly. v 14 a
                    "And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly,. . ."

                    a.    Wiersbe says "this is a soldier who will not march in step" p 113

        2.    Appreciation In . . Encouraging the Fainthearted. v 14 b
                ". . . encourage the fainthearted, . . . "
 

        3.    Appreciation In . . Helping the Weak. v 14 c
                    ". . . help the weak,. . . "
 

        4.    Appreciation In . . Patience to All Christians. v 14 d
                    ". . . be patient with all men."

        5.    Appreciation In . . Repayment. v 15 a
                    "See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good
                    for one another..."
 

B.    Appreciation for All . . Beings. v 15 b
                ". . . and for all men."

        1.    The unbeliever ought to know you are a good person.
        2.    They should know you live like your doctrine teaches.

Illustration
A South American minnow-like fish is called "four eyes" because it knows how to make the best of two worlds. The Creator designed its large bulging eyes with an air lens on the upper half and a water lens on the lower half. As it cruises along the surface of the water, it is able to look at the world above and the world below.

In a sense, believers in Christ must be like this little fish. As we go through life, we need to look above to heaven and also below to the world around us. The heavenward look enables us to focus on what God says is true and right, and the "earthward" look helps us see opportunities to demonstrate Christ like compassion to people who are entangled in sin.

Application

Romans 12:21
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. KJV

One of the ways to overcome evil is to be a person of appreciation.
 
 

3.    Appreciation for the . . Christian Principles. v 16-22


16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances.     21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil. NAS

16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. KJV

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit's fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil. NIV

A.    Christian Principals of . . Attitude. v 16
            "Rejoice always;"

        1.    The Attitude of Rejoicing.

B.    Christian Principals of . . Atmosphere. v 17-22

        1.    A Prayerful Atmosphere. v 17
                    "pray without ceasing;"

Many people in this church pray for me in my preaching ministry. I am praying more than I ever have in my ministry. There is much prayer in this church for the ministry. How often do you pray for the church.

I will soon have over 100,000 visitors to my sermon site on the Internet. Pray for those helped by it.

        2.    A Praise Atmosphere. v 18
                    "in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

                    a.    Praise for the building fund.
                    b.    Praise for the people who will come and help us build.
                    c.    Praise for the Number who have gone through the Experiencing God Study.

        3.    A Submissive Atmosphere. v 19-20
                "Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances."

                    a.    Don't be on the cold water committee.
                    b.    Seek to hear the voice of the Lord in Spirit.
                    c.    Listen submissively to the Word.

ATR ". . . means to stop doing it or not to have the habit of doing it. It is a bold figure. Some of them were trying to put out the fire of the Holy Spirit, . . . "
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)

        4.    A Steadfast Atmosphere. v 21
                "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;"

Acts 17:10-12
10 And the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea; and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. NAS

        5.    A Sanctified Atmosphere. v 22
                "abstain from every form of evil. "

Illustration Indifference
In the book The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis, a devil briefs his demon nephew, Wormwood, in the subtleties and techniques of tempting people. Through the letters the devil says that the objective is not to make people wicked but to make them indifferent.

Satan cautions Wormwood that he must keep the patient comfortable at all costs. If he should start thinking about anything of importance, encourage him to think about his luncheon plans and not to worry so much because it could cause indigestion. And then the devil gives this instruction to his nephew: "I, the devil, will always see to it that there are bad people. Your job, my dear Wormwood, is to provide me with people who do not care." Brett Blair, Sermon Illustrations, 1999.
 

1.    Appreciation for the Christian Pastors. v 12-13
 

2.    Appreciation for the Christian Populace. v 14-15
 

3.    Appreciation for the Christian Principles. v 16-22